“You're on 94.3 FM Radio Pag La Yiri, the radio station to educate the nation.” This announcement greets some 1.5 million listeners daily in French and four local languages in the rural Zabré region of Burkina Faso. In an area where illiteracy is high, radio is the ideal medium to help farmers know market prices, and mothers find out about vaccination schedules and prenatal check ups. There are even counselling programmes for couples. The station is run by local women’s group Pag La Yiri – “the woman is the foundation of the home” – but is provides a critical public service to men and women alike.
Gender is a cross-cutting theme at IICD, and we are committed to reaching out to women in our programmes. After all, women make up the majority of the rural poor, our main target group. Our objective is to understand and mitigate the barriers to women’s participation in and profiting from ICT4D programmes.
IICD has worked with women’s organisations in Mali, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Bolivia and Ecuador. For example in Mali, we helped Coprakazan market their shea butter via the web, radio and multimedia. In Burkina Faso, we helped Pag la Yiri set up a community radio station to provide market price as well as health and other information to 1.5 million rural listeners. In Bolivia, we’ve helped indigenous women leader’s strengthen their leadership skills through use of ICTs. ICTs were also used to support Bolivian victims of domestic violence with an online network and radio programmes.
We also work closely with the Dutch organisation PSO who supports IICD programmes that increase the participation of women in ICT for development projects in Latin America and Africa. And we have set up GenARDIS – a small grants fund for gender issues in ICTs for agricultural and rural development – together with CTA, IDRC and Hivos.